The Best Travel Shoes For Women
Sorry dudes! I don’t want to mislead you and have you think I know the best travel shoes for you, I have a good idea of what they are, but I definitely know the best travel shoes for women. I’m not going to overwhelm you with a huge list. These are my all-time favorite travel shoes and of course, they’re more style suggestions than anything. You don’t have to get the exact brands and colors to make them a great shoe, but here’s what I’ve worn around the world. I’ve only walked on six continents though so who knows, there could be one I’m missing.
Beyond the style :
A good pair of socks goes a long way. Don’t skimp on socks as they can help prevent blisters and odor. They also play a roll in keeping your feet dry and comfortable.
Break in your shoes. Seriously. This is rule number one and yet I’ve traveled with half a dozen people who bought an awesome pair of shoes for traveling and then saved them for the trip. Break them in! NOW.
Support yourself. Shoes are like a mattress for your feet. If you’re not sleeping on the floor, you better not be wearing cheap flats and sandals with no support. If you’re not sleeping on a hill, you better not be wearing heels day in and day out. (Geeze, I can really hear my inner Grammy coming out) If you must wear poorly designed shoes, at least splurge for some added support in the way of insoles.
Plan for your destination, like duh. Really though, cycle through the list of activities you plan on doing and pack accordingly. This may mean bringing along a pair of bulky rainboots for all the bog touring you’ll be doing (wtf am I even saying?) or ditching the stilettos in favor of a thicker heel since it’s only cobblestone streets.
Rainbows – Wow. I traveled all throughout Asia with my rainbows and I couldn’t be happier. They looked better with age, even after that time I wore them in the ocean and the pebbles from the beach got pressed into the insoles and stayed there forever, hah! Just a warning though, break these in before you travel with them! It definitely takes several hours and miles to properly shape rainbows to your foot, but eventually, you’ll be left with a nice cushiony insole and a high arch that will leave your feet feeling fine even after a whole day of temple touring, unlike most other flip-flops and flats. I wore these to death. When we arrived at my travel buddy’s grandma’s house in India she stole my rainbows, gave me a pair of her flats, and I never saw them again! I guess she didn’t think they aged well and didn’t want her family or people on the street to judge me.
Birkenstocks – I haven’t had a pair in a minute, but I think Birks are great for dressing up or down and they pair well with anything. They’re also a step up from a plain old flipflop, which is something to think about if you’ll be working abroad.
Sneakers + Everyday Shoes :
Nike Frees – I love these shoes in all black. They’re sleek enough to wear with a dress, which I do all the time, and yet perfect for those days when you want to hop on a moped or walk around the city for hours. Call me a freak, but I like to wear these without socks! I think that they’re sock like enough on their own that you really don’t need the extra layer. I’ve washed these a couple times too and they’ve held up for nearly two years now. I’d say that’s definitely worth the investment. One of my favorite aspects of the Nike Frees is that they are uber reflective! You would have no idea, but just snap a photo with the flash on and you’ll see how these shoes absolutely light up. I think that adds a nice level of safety and visibility when walking around at night.
Toms – I loved wearing my Toms all throughout Asia. Toms can be feminine and cute. They’re lightweight and perfect for most occasions, especially working abroad, and they’re pretty darn comfortable. Tom’s has made a lot of improvements to their shoes over the years. They are more durable now than they have ever been. Although they still really smell when you get them wet though! Like, leave them on the doorstep because they smell so bad. Full disclosure, once I bought the Nike Frees, I never thought about going back to Toms.
Chacos – I need to be honest here, I don’t think Chacos are the most comfortable shoe. They’re kind of hard and that’s a bummer for someone who puts weight on their heels, BUT they are so versatile that I pack them every single time. The hard sturdy sole may be the reason my feet are protected during river walks and hikes, so putting up with some pressure from the sole is worth it. I also love the fact that they can be resoled and you can buy different straps for them. There may be other alternatives like Keens or Tevas that are more supportive and similar in their abilities, but I cannot speak from personal experience.
Salomons – These are by far the most comfortable boots I have ever owned. The insole is incredibly soft, while the sole is sturdy and stable. They are also pretty light for being a mid-ankle boot and while my feet normally feel stifled with so much structure, these boots simply feet comfortable, not restrictive. Even though I highly recommend breaking in your shoes before traveling, I went on a 27-mile day hike after only wearing these out once! No blisters or hot spots here 🙂
Nike Frees – (see above) depending on the destination and your reason for traveling, you may be able to get away with not packing boots. I highly recommend this if you won’t truly need them on your trip. I’m a huge hiker, but lugging around boots in your bag takes up space and adds weight if you’re only going to use them once or twice. Do a ton of research, ask around, poll people on social media, and see if you can make it through your specific destination without taking your hiking boots.
Flats + Dressier shoes :
Croc flats – Don’t tune out! I’m not talking about the hella ugly crocs that my mom (and all the teenagers – did you know this is a serious thing?!) are wearing, I’m talking about these sleek black flats that don’t even look like crocs. These shoes are super comfortable, packable, and pair well with anything. They’re also durable, unlike most conventional flats. My only gripe is that these do make my feet sweat and then they squeak. Ultimately I had to give mine up because the squeaking was annoying, but I’ve had plenty of friends who do not have this problem. Maybe it’s the shape of my foot or something.
Minnetonka Mocs – I love my little moccasin booties. They are comfortable for wearing all day, protect your feet in any environment, and they pair well with most anything. The one downside to these mocassins is they make my feet super hot! So while they’re awesome for wearing in the city, after a day of the sun beating down on the blacktop, my feet just want to breathe! I’m also a barefoot kinda gal, so maybe I suffer more than the average Jane.
Shoes I’d like to try :
Sneakers : I’m curious about these Allbirds wool runners. They’re very similar to the Nike Frees and I think it may be worth experimenting to get away from Nike’s poor labor and animal welfare practices.
Dressier shoes / Booties : I love the look of these Valli’ Waterproof Booties. Next time I need a new pair of boots, I think I’ll splurge for these unless I find a pair of Fryes at a thrift store first!
Sandals / Flats : When I need a new pair of sandals, I’ll give these Tom’s Zoes a try. The founder of Tom admits that first and foremost, they are not a shoe company. Their focus is on philanthropy so sometimes the shoes may not live up to the price, but personally, I think their mission makes it a fair trade-off.
These flats look really pretty, but I’m not sure how they would hold up.